The New York-based watch group said the Afghans were driven out since July 2016 and at least 365,000 registered refugees were also among those targeted in the campaign.
According to a report by HRW, the expelled refugees now face spiraling armed conflict, violence, destitution, and displacement in Afghanistan.
The report “Pakistan Coercion, UN Complicity: The Mass Forced Return of Afghan Refugees,” documents Pakistan’s abuses and the role of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in promoting the exodus.
“After decades of hosting Afghan refugees, Pakistan in mid-2016 unleashed the world’s largest recent anti-refugee crackdowns to coerce their mass return,” said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher at Human Rights Watch and author of the report.
Simpson further added “Because the UN refugee agency didn’t stand up publicly to Pakistan’s bullying and abuses, international donors should step in to press the government and UN to protect the remaining Afghan refugees in Pakistan.”
“In July, 11 soldiers and police came to our home at 3 a.m. They entered without asking and threw all our things on the floor. They demanded to see our refugee cards and said they were expired. Then they stole all our money and told us to leave Pakistan,” a 26-year-old Afghan who had returned to Kabul with his wife and two children was quoted as saying in the report by Human Rights Watch.
The Afghan refugees became subject to harassment besides they were forced to leave the country following a deadly attack on a school late in 2014 that left scores of people dead or wounded in Peshawar city of Pakistan.
A prominent Pakistani politician earlier claimed last year that many undocumented Afghan refugees are behind the incidents of kidnappings for ransom and terrorism in the country, particularly in Peshawar city.
However, reports emerged earlier last month suggesting that the Afghan refugees are not involved in major crimes on a large extent as claimed by the officials in Pakistan.
According to the report, a total of 11,685 cases were registered during the period 2014 to September 30, 2016.
Out of the recorded cases 10,549 were put up in court and only 134 involved Afghan refugees which come to 1.27 per cent of the total number of cases landing in court.